Comcast is on the verge of agreeing to acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal worth $45 billion.
Sources cited by Reuters and Bloomberg claimed that the agreement is due to be announced later on Thursday. Acquiring TWC will extend Comcast's presence to the lucrative New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas markets. TWC will take a 23% stake in the merged entity, and Comcast will volunteer to divest 3 million subscribers to assuage regulators.
Even with the divestiture, the acquisition would leave Comcast with around 31 million customers, giving it approximately a 33% share of the U.S. pay TV market, leaving satellite operator DirecTV a distant second.
Comcast has reportedly offered around $158 per share for TWC, easily trumping rival cable provider Charter Communications' offer of $132.50. In January, TWC called the latter's bid "grossly inadequate", which this week prompted Charter – convinced it has the backing of TWC shareholders - to propose replacing TWC's entire board with representatives who would green-light its offer.
Comcast had been in talks with Charter about carving up TWC's markets between them but opted out once Charter's offer went hostile, alleged Reuters' sources.
With Comcast set to snap up TWC, Charter may look to acquire some or all of the assets that the merged entity plans to divest, the sources said.